A film about life in post-apartheid South Africa, Disgrace makes its local premiere at Cleveland Museum of Art Lecture Hall at 6:45 p.m. Friday, Jan. 22 and at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 24. Here's our review of the film.
(Australia/South Africa, 2008) This adaptation of a J.M. Coetzee novel commences as a drama about David Lurie (John Malkovich), a Cape Town professor forced to resign after having an affair with one of his students. Kicked out of the university, David moves to the countryside to live with his daughter Lucy (Jessica Haines), and his life takes a sharp turn for the worse. And so does the film. A trio of thieves attacks the couple. They rape Lucy, shoot her dogs and pour lighter fluid on David, burning the side of his face. Things only get grimmer as Lucy decides to stay at her rural home, even though she fears the criminals may return, and David takes a job helping the local vet with her euthanasia duties. Originally shown at the 2008 Toronto International Film Festival, the film never got wide distribution, and it’s easy to see why. While it takes a candid look at race relations in post-apartheid South Africa, its bleak outlook and gruesome images of animal cruelty make it difficult to watch. ** 1/2